Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 3, 2006 / 5 Shevat, 5766

Bush's strange addiction

By Rich Lowry


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One can imagine what the conversation must have been like around the CEO of Exxon-Mobil's breakfast table the morning after President Bush's State of the Union address. "So honey," his wife might have asked, "what's it feel like to be a tobacco executive?"


Bush's declaration that the U.S. is addicted to oil is another step toward demonizing the oil industry, in a repeat of what happened to the tobacco industry in the 1990s. The tobacco companies are now so heavily taxed and regulated that they have almost become an arm of the government. Bush intends for no such thing to happen to the oil sector, but as Bill Clinton learned after repeatedly saying he "would end welfare as we know it" without quite meaning it, words have consequences.


The word "addicted," of course, is morally loaded, implying an unhealthy and irrational dependence. But since oil provides the cheapest and most efficient way to power automobiles, our dependence on it is natural and sensible — the very opposite of an addiction. Bush is the James Frey of energy policy, exaggerating the negative to play to an important market segment — in Bush's case, the mushy middle of American politics primed to believe the worst about Big Oil.


Bush isn't proposing any far-reaching proposals to deal with this newfound addiction. President Clinton resorted to microinitiatives — school uniforms, teenage curfews, etc. — when he was in a political tight-spot. President Bush is resorting to microindustrial policy. A few billion dollars here and there on developing fuel alternatives — and also on funding scientific research and education — and everyone can feel good that the federal government is "doing something," while members of Congress shove the money out the door and energy interests gobble it up.


Bush's new Advanced Energy Initiative, which is charged with developing better batteries for electric cars and figuring out how to make fuel from wood chips, is redolent of all the past federal initiatives to find alternatives to oil and to gas-powered cars. Who can forget the glories of President Nixon's Project Independence? Or Carter's Synthetic Fuels Corporation? Or the first Bush's U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium? Or Clinton's Partnership for New Generation Vehicles?


They all failed. So far, the $10 billion spent since 2001 on trying to develop alternative fuels that Bush bragged about in his speech has also produced nothing. "That's scarcely an advertisement for even more lavish subsidies," commented energy expert Jerry Taylor of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute. If there are commercially viable energy alternatives, the market will discover them without the clumsy guiding hand of government. Ethanol, the corn-based, government-subsidized fuel, has long been a favorite alternative, but still doesn't make economic sense. As many industrial-policy programs do, the subsidies have become chiefly a favor to an important political constituency — Midwest farmers, especially those who vote in the Iowa caucuses.


More high-minded reasons are adduced for Bush's energy push, most importantly the need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But the top exporters to the U.S. are our nonthreatening neighbors, Canada and Mexico. This is why Bush singled out Mideast oil. Assuming he's fine with oil from U.S. allies Kuwait and Iraq, that leaves Saudi Arabia as a disfavored exporter; but whether we buy its oil or not, it is going to sell massive amounts of it on the world market. One theory holds that declining oil prices driven by reduced U.S. consumption will undercut undemocratic governments in the Middle East, but these governments proved durable even when prices plummeted in the mid-1980s, and some of them aren't oil states (Syria, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority).


The best result would be if Bush's "oil addiction" tack heads into that special dustbin reserved for grandiloquent, quickly forgotten State of the Union gestures. Here's hoping that a few years from now as many people remember that Bush wanted to power cars on wood chips as recall that he once planned to put a man on Mars.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Rich Lowry Archives

© 2006 King Features Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles